Supporters of Arkansas’ medical cannabis submitted thousands of signatures this week in order to put a legalization measure on the ballot in November. They called for supporters of a competing ballot to stop all efforts and simply support theirs. Arkansans for Compassionate Care submitted 117,469 signatures to the secretary of state’s office. The state office will now have thirty days to review the petitions and figure out whether or not the group has the 67,887 signatures needed for it to be on the ballot. As we’ve seen in the past, however, not all of these signatures will be approved. The measure would legalize medical cannabis for patients with medical conditions and a recommendation from a doctor.

“The patients of Arkansas deserve a safer alternative,” said Melissa Fults, the group’s campaign director, at a news conference at the Capitol. “They should not have to choose between treating their illnesses or breaking the law.”

Four years ago, the voters of Arkansas decided to reject a medical cannabis measure on the ballot. Fults states that there is a huge backing of medical marijuana, but told other supporters to stop any other campaigns that they are working on and instead join her group’s effort. Putting both bills on the ballot “will absolutely cause both to fail,” Fults stated. Little Rock attorney David Couch, who is collecting signatures for the competing measure, said he does not intend to drop their efforts and does not think that Fults’ bill is going to make it onto the ballot. Couch said he has collected more than 50,000 signatures from registered voters for his proposed constitutional amendment, which needs at least 84,859 signatures to qualify.

“I think it would be foolish for us to stop now,” Couch added. “We wouldn’t anyhow because we think we have the better proposal.”

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